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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     13 January 2011


Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the prosecution of Mr PJ Thomas, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner must shed his constitutional immunity and quit the exalted office he holds. It is incongruous for the country's principal vigilance officer, trusted with cracking cases of corruption in high places, to be himself facing similar charges. Mr Thomas has all this time dug in his heels, insisting that he had no role in the palmolein import scandal for which he faces criminal prosecution and that his appointment to various posts had been duly cleared as per rules after he moved on as Food and Civil Supplies Secretary in the Kerala Government when the palm oil import scam happened. But that defence was never satisfactory because to date he remains an accused in the case. Of course, it remains a mystery as to how he was cleared for subsequent positions despite the fact that he figures as an accused in the chargesheet filed before a Thiruvananthapuram court. The fact that the trial in the case had been stayed for three years on a petition filed by a former Kerala Chief Minister, the late K Karunakaran, who was a co-accused, too was no endorsement of his innocence but a mere legal relief secured through subterfuge. Now even that is gone. The issue here is not one of Mr Thomas's innocence or guilt — that is to be decided by the courts according to the law of the land as it applies to all — but that of propriety. Indeed, Mr Thomas, who stands vastly diminished in both Government and outside, is harming his own credibility and fetching disrepute to the CVC's office by clinging to the post despite recent developments.

It is possible that Mr Thomas's patrons in the Congress (he cannot claim he has none) are egging him on to be obstinate because his resignation would reflect poorly on the Prime Minister who backed him despite his dubious track record and his alleged involvement in the palmolein import scandal. the insisted on candidate. That the Congress has all along been shielding him is evident from the fact that when the party ruled Kerala it had sought withdrawal of prosecution against all the accused, including Mr Thomas. So, the Congress's claim of innocence does not wash either. The manner in which the Prime Minister, whose integrity and honesty are supposed to be beyond reproach, forced the selection of Mr Thomas for the CVC's job, overriding the objections of the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who had pointed out his questionable role in the palm oil import scam, makes it abundantly clear that neither he nor the Congress, nor for that matter the UPA Government, is particularly bothered about the spreading stain of taint. Hence it is unlikely that Mr Thomas will be asked to put in his papers. But if he has any sense of honour and dignity, he will do so on his own.


 2 Replies

unique horn (self)     13 January 2011

Then: I am CVC but i will not look into spectrum investigation.


Now: I am CVC and i will not look into  palmolein import scandal.


........... It may continue.


I think he will not go till SC  Fire him.

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     22 January 2011

Supreme Court won't fire him. He has scratched everybody's back when in government now others are doing the same to him.

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